Matt Conger overcame what he believes was a great character test to get to the football World Cup - a broken foot! The Kiwi referee has just returned from the World Cup in Russia, but he had a scare before the tournament when he picked up a stress fracture in his foot while at a training camp in Italy in April. Conger, 39, spent a couple of weeks in a moon boot, then more time rehabilitating, including time on a water treadmill, but recovered to reach his first World Cup. "It was one of those things where it was getting very close and I was thinking is this an eleventh-hour banana skin going to cause me to miss out," he said. He kept FIFA well informed and officials were happy with his progress. He had to pass fitness tests before going to Russia and he felt great during them. "When you get so close to what you're working to achieve it's almost like you're tested. To test the qualities of your character, who you are, what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it."
Conger is having a short break before heading to Japan to control a game, although he will be back at work as a teacher at Palmerston North's Carncot School on Monday. He will be back into refereeing Australian A-League games later in the year and would like to go to the clubs World Cup in Abu Dhabi.